By Annie Andrews firstname.lastname@example.org
Grand Island's Mayor Jay Vavricek is formally censured by the City Council this evening during a war of words that leaves one councilman embarrassed to be a member.
Today's meeting said council members was the only way to get everyone together and they don't agree with the mayor. It all comes back to Mary Lou Brown's ‘reinstatement' to City Administrator, for lack of a better term, but what came out in the meeting was much more.
"He should turn the chair over," said Council President Peg Gilbert, referring to Robert's Rules of Order and the mayor giving up his position as presiding member.
"Unless I go ahead and I give up my partiality, I would be prevented from making comments and at this point I will convene the meeting," said Mayor Vavricek. His continued placement of chairman over his own potential censure was a matter for concern. Tempers flared at one point between Gilbert, Haase and the mayor, but ultimately Vavricek went on against their will.
"That's the attitude, this is why I started the recall, that attitude right there is very unprofessional," said Grand Island resident Jeb Wolsleben, the man who is also responsible for the mayoral recall petition currently awaiting response.
Frustration was the attitude that reigned king over Friday's hour and a half meeting and it came from all sides.
"His censure is not based on law, but political disputes and as such I deem this censure improper and illegal," said City Attorney Robert Sivick. Before the gavel knocking and eye rolling, the City Attorney at the request of Vavricek took the floor with his disapproval.
"If the Mayor were to terminate anyone's employment to avoid censure that would set up the entire city for civil liability" said Sivick.
It's an opinion Council President Gilbert refuted citing another legal expert's advice. She said this was the only way to gather the entire council together and ultimately moved forward with the censure.
"We hereby censure the Mayor for ignoring the will of the council and substituting his own," said Gilbert. Gilbert said this public disapproval will help the city move forward and her views were seconded by others.
"This is not a monarchy where one person gets to decide everything...we all need to participate in the process and I think that's what's been missing," said Council member Haase.
One council member however stood alone, in his opinion and also the vote. "I am to the point where I'm almost embarrassed to say I'm a council member," said Councilman Minton.
What's yet to be seen is if the embarrassment will ultimately hurt the entire city.